The San Francisco 49ers NFL team is the latest victim of a cyber attack after being hit by the BlackByte ransomware group over the Super Bowl weekend.
The cybercriminals claimed they stole some of the football team’s financial data labeled ‘2020 Invoices’ and posted it on the dark web. However, the cyber gang didn’t disclose how much data it had stolen or encrypted, nor did they make its demands public.
In a Sunday statement, the 49ers organization confirmed the incident, saying that it recently became aware of a ‘network security breach’ on its computer network system. Although the attack disrupted its IT operations, the organization confirmed that it managed to control the incident.
In their statement, the team clarified that they didn’t have any clear indication that the attack involved systems outside their corporate networks. Additionally, although the organization declined to comment on whether the ransomware was part of the security incident, it went ahead to specify that the incident didn’t affect the ticket holders.
According to the team, the data breach was limited to the corporate’s IT network. The organization further confirmed that they worked diligently to quickly and safely restore the affected system even as the investigation continued.
BlackByte ransomware gang owns a leak website that advertises the data they steal from compromised endpoints and plans to leak to the public. The cybercriminals reportedly leaked the 49er’s data on the site late Saturday evening, a few hours before the Super Bowl.
The attack comes two weeks after the team, one of the most valuable and storied franchises in the NFL, lost a close playoff game. In its statement, the organization further confirmed that they notified law enforcement about the attack and involved third-party cyber-security firms to assist with the investigation.
News of the attack came a few days after the U.S Secret Service and the FBI issued a warning about BlackByte ransomware. In their statements, the two law enforcement agencies stated that the group had attacked several U.S and international businesses, among them at least three U.S critical infrastructure sectors, which include government facilities, financial, and food & agriculture, since last November.
BlackByte ransomware is a small operation active today, operating on Ransomware-as-a-Service, RaaS. The gang, whose first work was seen last year, operates by renting out their ransomware to ‘affiliates’, which intrudes into organizations and deploys it to encrypt files.
In addition, the ‘affiliates’ hack networks and steal files that BlackByte uses to leverage in negotiations. Finally, the criminals use the tactic of threatening the affected organization about leaking the data on the dark web if they do not comply with their extortion demands.
As businesses embrace digital transformation, so does ransomware attacks increase. From government entities to large corporations, ransomware attacks are in every corner, and their results are devastating. While some victims suffer data breaches, others experience system outages, but the ultimate blow is a financial loss worth millions of dollars.
Fortunately, ransomware attacks are preventable. Understanding the mechanism by which these attacks occur reduces your organization’s risk of becoming a victim.
Also known as an encryption trojan, when ransomware enters your network system, it encrypts your data or locks your operating system, holding you ‘digital hostage.’ Then, the attacker demands a ransom to release your data or network system.
The first step to avoiding being a cyber-attack victim is understanding possible security vulnerabilities. Some of the factors that might increase the risk of becoming a victim include:
The worst thing about a ransomware attack is that the attacker may never restore your data even after paying the ransomware. Therefore, you must take the necessary steps to protect yourself against these attacks. Implementing the following strategies helps you recover from an attack and protects your system from compromise.
Use Solid Antivirus to Block Malware
A solid antivirus blocks any known malware from attacking your computers. In addition, configure your email in a way that blocks emails with executable files. Also, consider an ad blocker to keep off malicious advertising from your browser.
Have a Robust Backup Strategy
If you become a victim of a cyber-attack, you need a clean copy of your data to help you recover. You can minimize the risk of total data loss from an attack by creating intraday snapshots and full end-of-day data backups.
Create Cyber Awareness in Your Organization
Eliminate the perception that maintaining the security of your organization is the responsibility of the IT department by educating your employees on the need of being the company’s cyber foot soldiers. You can achieve this by carrying out regular cyber awareness training to enlighten the employees that a cyber attack will affect everyone in the organization.
Perform Regular Checkup on Your IT Environment for Possible Threats
Continuously monitoring your network system for the presence of malware and ransomware helps you detect threats before they can cause devastating damages. During these checkups, ensure you identify and update outdated software patches, update your antivirus software, and confirm that your endpoint access is secure.
As with any other type of malware, you need to be vigilant about combating a ransomware attack. In this regard, ensure you have a robust backup to ensure you are well-prepared if the worst happens. In addition, work closely with an IT consulting firm that understands and uses comprehensive cyber security solutions.
One Source Technology is dedicated to ensuring that businesses across Wichita, Kansas, are well protected from ransomware attacks and any other form of cybercrimes. We provide our services to businesses across multiple industries, including law firms, healthcare organizations, and accounting firms, among others.
Our team of experienced IT professionals will ensure that your network system is secure and things are running smoothly. In addition, we are always available to answer any questions you may have or offer clarification whenever you need it. So, contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can help you.